Nearly done! Only three days since I started the project to begin with. Pictures soon!
Don’t be alarmed by the name. It’s this wonderful breathing technique I first heard about from Tara Stiles in her book, “Yoga Cures.” She lists it under the section for anxiety, and it’s so good for when you just need to take a breather or unwind from a stressful situation.
Since I just finished doing this a few times a few moments ago, I realized I hadn’t shared with all of you yet!
I like to practice alternate nostril breathing in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and before bed. It’s amazing how great I feel afterward.
Here’s the video tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxpIXX1dQDo
Connecting with your breath might sound a little crazy, but it’s definitely helped me move from a stressful to a much more calm state.
Side note: My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. One of the best ways to help yourself when you’re in a stressed state is to take the focus off yourself and help someone else. (I love this. What a wonderful perspective.) To help relief efforts, here’s a collection of places where you can help: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/11/how-to-help-the-typhoon-relief-efforts.html
On Friday evening I had a craving for pizza, but not just any pizza: a Greek pizza.
I looked up the menu to a restaurant where I’ve had a Greek pizza once or twice, and then decided to save my money and make my own.
I already had feta cheese and pepperoncini peppers in the fridge, so I went off to the store to find sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, basil pesto, and since it was too late to make my favorite pizza dough (recipe here) I decided to try my first store-bought fresh pizza dough. (By the way, Raley’s pizza dough is delicious, and cheap.)
This pizza was delicious. I’m sorry if I can’t describe it any better than that, but every ingredient melted together perfectly. Except, of course, for the burned olives. Thankfully, we couldn’t even tell they were burned.
1 recipe pizza dough or store bought fresh pizza dough ( I bought mine at Raley’s, but I’ve heard Whole Foods’ is great, and I think Trader Joe’s has one too?)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
basil pesto (about 4 tablespoons)
mozzarella cheese ( about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (either canned or the dried, bagged kind, which is what I had)
Pepperocini peppers (I had canned and sliced in my fridge)
Kalamata olives (I bought the pitted, sliced kind)
feta cheese ( about 2 tablespoons)
Parmesan cheese (about 2 tablespoons)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.. Place oil in skillet over medium heat. Wait about a minute or so until oil is hot, then place garlic in the pan and cook for about a minute, just as it’s beginning to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Follow directions for pizza dough. Once you have the dough rolled and in the pan, spread on the basil pesto. Sprinkle mozzarella, then top with veggies and garlic. Sprinkle on the feta and Parmesan cheeses, then bake in the oven for about 8 to 9 minutes.*
*CAUTION: I would check on these throughout the cooking period. As you’ll see from the photograph, we left ours in for a minute too long and some of the olives burned. To avoid this, check on the pizza about 4 minutes into cooking and again at 8 minutes.
This pizza was amazing but had very bold flavors. The peso seemed to be a bit much, so next time I’d try to find a jarred pesto made with spinach and with less basil.
Also, I think I’d skip the mozzarella cheese. Not because it wasn’t delicious; it just didn’t need the extra cheese.
What are you favorite pizza toppings?
A few months ago (or maybe just one, can’t remember) I decided I wanted to learn how to knit. One of my favorite hobbies is crosstitching, but to do that for hours at a time would hurt my wrists terribly, so I wanted to find a similar relaxing hobby.
Enter knitting! It has been so frustrating learning the specific stitches, but I finished my first scarf in September, and finally went to the store to get a new thing of yarn.
And I am halfway done already! I’ve been working with alternating two basic stitches: the pearl stitch and the knit stitch. So far, it’s going well.
If you want to start learning how to knit, here’s a great video I found: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tff3ng-djtk
Eventually, I plan on learning how to knit a hat, similar to the one Tara Stiles gives a tutorial for in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd408m0bkXQ
Even though it’s frustrating, I do love knitting. It’s relaxing and I like the idea that as I continue practicing, I’ll be able to make beautiful things for all the beautiful people in my life.
Keep smiling and happy knitting,
It’s November, and I’ve been noticing on my social media feeds a rise in posts about what people are thankful for. I love the idea of sharing something everyday that we’re thankful for, no matter how big or how small.
Gabrielle Bernstein has a great quote about gratitude in her book, “May Cause Miracles”: “Gratitude creates a domino effect of love.”
I know that when I’m feeling down, stressed, panicked, rushed, irritated, or just not feeling “OK,” I’ve been forcing myself to remember gratitude. To be thankful for the small things. I’m thankful for my beautiful apartment, my loved ones, but I’m also incredibly thankful to the pen that doesn’t run out on me, or being able to have the time in the morning to write this post. When you set your mind to being thankful all the time, it’ll leave you feeling less panicked, stressed, or irritated, even if only for a minute or so.
Today, I’m sharing my gratitude for yoga and my breath. I’ve been trying to sit in stillness each morning to center myself before heading into my work day, and I’ve noticed that with yoga and focusing on my breathing, I feel stronger and more confident.
I’m also thankful for chai lattes, which basically captures the entirety of the holidays and places it in a single cup of steamy tea with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mmm.
I found this coconut chai latte last night from Oh She Glows and it’s my inspiration for this morning’s chai latte. And sometimes, I like to make my chai lattes more chilly (yes, even in winter) and I make this chocolate chai banana smoothie.
One of my favorite breakfast foods is French toast. It’s so simple to make and easy to dress up. And it’s even more delicious when you’re having it for dinner, right?
French Toast with Toasted Pecans, Banana, and Strawberries
Serves: 2-3 people
1/4 cup chopped pecans
5 strawberries, sliced
1 banana, sliced
1/4 cup milk (almond milk or other alternatives will work here too)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (or eyeball how much you want if you’re grating it yourself)
1 tsp vanilla
6 pieces whole wheat bread
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans onto cookie sheet, place in the oven. Set a timer for 4 minutes and make sure to stir the pecans around every 2 minutes.
2. Mix together egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla into a flat dish or wide bowl. Set aside.
3. Take out pecans from oven.
4. Heat up a skillet on medium heat.
5. Dip both sides of bread into the egg mixture and cook in skillet until brown on both sides.
6. Once you’ve finished all six pieces, put your syrup in a microwave-safe container and heat for 15 seconds.
7. Top your toast with toasted pecans, banana, strawberries, drizzle on the syrup and enjoy!
Now that’s how breakfast for dinner is done.
Is there something that’s holding you back from truly loving yourself unconditionally or embracing what makes you beautiful? The secret to beauty is not makeup, fashionable clothing, or the way you style your hair. It’s being you. It means embracing who you are, and loving everything about yourself. And yes, even the dark spaces that make you sad, or angry, or resentful, or whatever not-so-good feeling. You have to accept those too, and learn from those dark spaces. When you accept yourself for who you are, right at that moment, the most powerful changes can occur. You’ll become willing to grow and learn from the dark spaces, you’ll learn to accept your body for the wonderful creation it is, and you’ll begin to shift your perception of beauty to a much more positive state.
One great way to jump start loving yourself unconditionally and embracing your beauty is to have gratitude. Gratitude is the beginning of something wonderful. It’s the beginning of being able to accept and love yourself.
So here’s the assignment: Today, let’s decide to make one small change. Instead of putting yourself down, every time you have a negative thought about yourself counteract it with a positive one. Or maybe two. Or even three.Go ahead and write them down on paper and even keep it with you so you can refer back to it throughout the day. Continue adding to it every time you have a negative thought about yourself. Let the gratitude start piling up!
Makeup is awesome, fashionable clothes are great, and a great hairstyle can make a bad day a little better. But truly knowing yourself, loving yourself unconditionally, and knowing you’re beautiful and worthy to be happy no matter the circumstance (yes, even on bad hair days), now that’s understanding beauty. That’s owning who you are. And that’s a major ingredient to the recipe of living life with smiles even on the not-so-good days.